Archive for the 'Startup Strategy' Category

The Evolving Nature of Technology Adoption

Sep 15 2008 Published by under Startup Strategy

I’m speaking at the Web 2.0 Expo that is being held in NYC this week. My session is in the strategy stream and is titled “The Real, Long-lasting (and Negative) Impact of Web 2.0 on Technology Adoption.”

There are three pieces to the session: web 2.0 trends that have impacted technology adoption; the impact of those trends; and finally, ways to adapt and succeed in this new world.

Here’s some exploratory thoughts on the impact of web 2.0 trends on technology adoption. I’ll post ways to adapt and succeed in this new world following the conference.

Continue Reading »

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Summer in NYC

Jul 28 2008 Published by under General,Startup Strategy

Summer in NYC is wonderful. The streets are buzzing at all times of the day with an infectious energy that’s missing in the winter. The parks are filled with active people, the subways are hot, and cafes and restaurants are lively.

And in the evening there’s nothing better than relaxing on a patio while sipping a beer as the sun dips over the horizon.

I’ve tried to enjoy all that the city offers in the summer but I’ve also had a busy travel schedule (work and pleasure). There have been multiple trips to SF, a trip to Chicago, Ottawa, and Australia. It’s been a remarkable few months.

The past few months have also been remarkable with respect to building the business. There are a bunch of things to share, not all of them here, not all of them now.

I’m immensely proud of what we’re building. If you want to participate in the alpha, just drop me a note.

There are also a few posts (and excellent discussions) on our site that may be of interest to you:

PS, I now have my life savings invested into kiva 😉

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TechCocktail Conference in Chicago

May 11 2008 Published by under Startup Strategy


On Thursday, May 29th in Chicago some of the biggest brains in technology are congregating at the first TechCocktail Conference to teach, learn, and converse.

Eric Olson and Frank Gruber have organized what’s going to be an incredible event. Take a look at the speakers list: successful entrepreneurs, well-known VCs, and more. Brilliant minds all of them.

There’s a diverse number of topics covered. If you’re interested in the web, tech, and entrepreneurship it’s bound to be an incredible day. And it’s inexpensive. It would be hard to find a better value for the insight that you’ll gain. That’s a testament to Eric and Frank’s vision for the conference and the respect they have in the industry.

I’m honoured to share that I’ll be speaking at the conference.

The topic is Understanding the Semantic Web and I’ll be providing insight and knowledge on the topic and covering what you need to know about the emerging market.

Register now and enter the following promo code to save 10%: techcocktailer.

If you’re heading to the conference drop me a note, I’ll buy you a beer.

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The Change Function

Mar 10 2008 Published by under Media,Startup Strategy

“Want the big idea? Make a product that makes everything I have easy to use”

– my dad, in response to hearing I wanted to be an entrepreneur

Eight years later the gravity of my dad’s statement is greater than ever. The impact that a product’s usability has on its ultimate market performance continues to grow.

I’ve had the pleasure of spending my entire career commercializing new technology across companies in diverse industries. The usability (or lack-thereof) has always factored significantly into the technology’s ultimate success.

If you’re not thinking about usability, deeply, and practicing user-centric design practices, actively, then, well, good luck to you!

It’s something that’s always on my mind. And so during a recent trip to Palo Alto I picked up a book on the topic, Pip Coburn’s The Change Function.

In it Coburn presents a change function to explain the adoption of new technology:

f (user crises, total perceived pane of adoption)

Where adoption occurs when user crisis > total perceived pane of adoption.

Coburn chastises a tech world for its arrogant, supplier-side approach to product development. The “build it and they will come” mentality has far too often resulted in overly complex technology being developed that ultimately fails.

Ideally, Coburn argues, companies should leverage user-centric approaches to product design. Working collaboratively with users, through quick, iterative designs, companies can transition data into information and ultimately into insight.

There are a number of interesting case studies and worthwhile questions that can help guide user-centric design. The most valuable message that the book delivers is how important ease-of-use is to a product’s success and how focusing on the user keeps the focus true.

At 200 pages the book could use some editing. It would make a good 150-page book. The message is excellent at 100 pages. However, if you don’t practice user-centric design I highly recommend this. If the message is lost on you, read it again. The lesson’s that important.

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The Importance of Hope (or, Barack Obama on Entrepreneurship)

Mar 01 2008 Published by under Startup Strategy

Alternative title for this post: Barack Obama explains the difference between entrepreneurs in the US and Canada.

Dave, my brother, asked me the following question the other day: what’s the biggest difference between entrepreneurs you’ve met in Canada and entrepreneurs you’ve met in the States?

My intial response – “one’s the majors the other’s the minors” – left me unsatisfied. That explanation covers entrepreneurship but fails to explain entrepreneurs.

The biggest difference in entrepreneurs?

The answer lies with Barack. Continue Reading »

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